COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Athletes and coaches are expressing their frustration after Columbus City Schools announced Thursday that all winter sports would be suspended until January 2.
“I came a long way. Four years and I’m just very irritated and mad,” said Arianna Smith, a senior on the Africentric girls basketball team.
Smith is just one of hundreds of athletes who feel that frustration after the winter sports suspension was extended for Columbus City Schools.
“Some schools are 15 to 10 minutes away from us and they’re playing but we’re not getting the chance to play,” Smith said.
There will be 14 basketball games played in Franklin County on Friday night, but none of those will be played by teams in the Columbus City League.
“You know young African American males in particular; sports, basketball that’s all they have to keep them engaged, keep them safe,” said Chuck Jefferson, head coach of the Walnut Ridge boys basketball team.
Will McKinney is the head coach of the Africentric girls basketball team. He said he feels sad and concerned for all of his players who are missing out on the first two months of their season.
“It just hurts so many of our kids, not just Africentric but kids all across the Columbus City League are just missing out on opportunities,” McKinney said.
Kids might even miss the opportunity to play in college — something Walnut Ridge senior Leon Douglas and Africentric senior Anyiah Murphy hope to do.
“Trying to gain that offer to go to school for free and having everything financially paid for . . . definitely means a lot to not just me but to a lot of kids around the city,” Douglas said.
“Since my freshman year I waited my turn to play and receive offers and stuff and so like I said this is my year to show everybody what I was capable of,” Murphy said. “But the season keeps getting pushed back so we can’t really show anybody anything.”